Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, October 02, 2022- Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) President and Group Chairman, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, participated in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministerial Meetings with the IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, convened by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Finance Minister H.E. Mohammed Al Jadaan.
During the high-level meeting on 'Coming Together to Tackle Food Insecurity,' Dr. Al Jasser stated that the food security of 36 Islamic Development Bank member countries, which are net food importers, was hit hard and directly affected by supply chain disruptions linked to COVID-19 and the recent East European crisis.
The finance ministers indicated that in addition to affecting people's ability to buy products, the growing inflation rate in member nations has also significantly reduced the amount of money individuals can spend on food.
"Food utilization is highly affected as many people cannot afford to buy quality and adequate food due to inflation. As a result, millions of people are going hungry because they can no longer afford food in both quality and quantity, " said Dr. Al Jasser.
Dr. Al Jasser highlighted the dire food insecurity in East Africa, where millions of farmers and pastoralists have been left destitute after four years of below-average rainfall. He pointed out that in Pakistan, billions of dollars' worth of key crops were wiped out by floods, including wheat and rice, forcing millions of people to flee their homes.
The IsDB President reaffirmed the Bank's commitment to helping member countries in their endeavor to enhance their food security, noting that the Bank has recently approved a USD10.54 billion Food Security Response Program (FSRP). The program is meant to help member countries deal with the immediate effects of the current crisis and address the structural problems that cause food and nutrition insecurity.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Al Jasser called for coordinated efforts to build resilient and sustainable food systems, especially in developing countries. He added that building the resilience of small production systems, fostering climate-smart agriculture, and constructing national strategic buffer stocks would go a long way toward strengthening the food security of member states.